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The Latest: Pence to meet with Black leaders in Tulsa

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— Pence to meet with Black leaders in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ahead of Trump rally.

— Protesters topple statues including Ulysses S. Grant in San Francisco.

Two people shot, one fatally, in Seattle occupied protest zone.

— Crews removing two Confederate statues in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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TULSA, Okla. — Vice President Mike Pence is set to meet with Black leaders in Tulsa ahead of a campaign rally with President Donald Trump.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said he will join Pence on Saturday to speak with leaders in Tulsa’s Greenwood district, which was the site of one of the worst racial massacres in U.S. history.

The Republican governor earlier in the week had invited Trump to join him, but later rescinded that request.

“We talked to the African American community and they said it would not be a good idea, so we asked the president not to do that,” Stitt said.

Black leaders in Tulsa say they fear the president’s visit could lead to violence.

Hundreds of Black people were killed during the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, when white mobs burned down the thriving commercial area known as Black Wall Street.

The district was the site Friday of Tulsa’s celebration of Juneteenth, which commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans.

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SAN FRANCISCO — In San Francisco, a group of about 400 people tore down statues of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th president of the U.S., Spanish missionary Junipero Serra and Francis Scott Key, who wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The group of protesters arrived at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park Friday night and after defacing the statues with red paint and writing “slave owner” on the platforms they were on, they toppled them using ropes and dragged them down grassy slopes amid cheers and applause.

Grant led the Union Army during the Civil War and thus was a key figure in the fight to end slavery. However, like Key, he once owned slaves. Serra, an 18th century Roman Catholic priest, founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions and is credited with bringing Roman Catholicism to the Western United States. He is also blamed by many Native Americans for the destruction of their culture and the decimation of several tribes.

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BOSTON — Three members of the Boston City Council want to start diverting nonviolent 911 calls away from police.

The Boston Globe reported that the councilors have filed an ordinance that calls for “an alternative response from non-law enforcement agencies.”

They said Boston police often respond to nonviolent calls for service that include issues such as homelessness and substance abuse that are beyond the scope of their function.

The councilors are Michelle Wu, Lydia Edwards and Julia Mejia. They’ve proposed the changes in a time when calls for police reform are taking place all over the country in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky.

The Boston councilors want the city to create a crisis-response plan for nonviolent 911 calls within 90 days. They said the plan should connect people who need help to unarmed service providers such as healthcare professionals instead of police.

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SEATTLE — A shooting in Seattle’s protest zone has left one person dead and another critically injured.

Authorities say the shooting before dawn Saturday happened in the area known as CHOP, which stands for Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.

Seattle Police Sgt. Lauren Truscott told The Seattle Times that she didn’t know whether police had taken anyone into custody and said she had no immediate details about how the shooting unfolded.

Harborview Medical Center spokesperson Susan Gregg says two males with gunshot wounds arrived in a private vehicle at the hospital at at about 3 a.m. One died and the other was in critical condition.

Protesters have cordoned off several blocks near a police station in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in the wake of demonstrations against police violence since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis several weeks ago.

Police have largely retreated from the zone after clashes with protesters ended with people throwing things at police and police using tear gas and other crowd-control munitions. City officials have said they are still communicating with protest leaders, who had pledged to keep the peace in the zone.

The situation has drawn the continued ire of President Donald Trump. His tweets about possibly sending in the military have been met with condemnation from Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee, both Democrats.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Work crews are removing two Confederate statues outside the North Carolina state capitol in Raleigh, the morning after protesters toppled two nearby statues.

News outlets reported Saturday that crews were removing one statue dedicated to the women of the Confederacy, and another placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy honoring Henry Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War.

Both statues stood for over a century. It was not immediately clear who ordered the removals.

On Friday night, protesters pulled down two statues of two Confederate soldiers that were part of a larger obelisk. Earlier in the evening police had thwarted a previous attempt to topple the statues. Bu after the officers cleared the area, protesters mounted the obelisk and were able to take down the statues.

The statues were dragged down the street. One was strung up by its neck from a light post.

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Police in Amsterdam say they are investigating a threatening letter sent to a prominent Black activist.

Jerry Afriyie posted a photo of the letter on his Twitter feed Saturday.

He tweeted, “We are entering the next phase. My family is being threatened because I along with others fight against racism.”

Afriyie has long been a leader of efforts to eradicate the children’s character Black Pete, who is often portrayed by white people wearing blackface makeup at celebrations each December marking Sinterklaas, a Dutch celebration of St. Nicholas.

The letter, which contains racial epithets and insults, purports to come from the Northern division of the far-right anti-immigrant Pegida organization.

In a reaction posted to Instagram, the Dutch branch of Pegida denied involvement, saying that however much the disagree with Afriyie, “we will never send this sort of cowardly, threatening, racist letter to anybody.”

Police say in a tweet that they are investigating who sent the letter. The Amsterdam police tweet added, “as police we take this case extremely seriously.”

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A statue of the founder of Rochester, New York, has been vandalized.

Anti-racism messages were sprayed on the sculpture of Revolutionary War figure and slave owner Nathaniel Rochester.

The hands of the bronze statue of a seated Rochester were painted red, with “shame” written across the forehead. Other messages around the figure included “stole indigenous lands” and “abolish the police.”

Mayor Lovely Warren said Friday there’s a complexity to recognizing Rochester’s role in establishing what became the western New York city. She said the community should discuss “the best way to deal with those figures.”

The city’s new Commission on Racial and Structural Equity could decide. The sculpture was unveiled in 2008 as part of a neighborhood-revitalization effort led by volunteers.

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WASHINGTON — Protesters have toppled the only statue of a Confederate general in the nation’s capital and set it on fire.

It comes on Juneteenth, the day marking the end of slavery in the United States, amid continuing anti-racism demonstrations following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Cheering demonstrators jumped up and down as the 11-foot (3.4-meter) statue of Albert Pike — wrapped with chains — wobbled on its high granite pedestal before falling backward, landing in a pile of dust. Protesters then set a bonfire and stood around it in a circle as the statue burned, chanting, “No justice, no peace!” and “No racist police!”

Eyewitness accounts and videos posted on social media indicated that police were on the scene, but didn’t intervene.

President Donald Trump quickly tweeted about the toppling, calling out D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and writing: “The DC police are not doing their job as they watched a statue be ripped down and burn.” After the statue fell, most protesters returned peacefully to Lafayette Park near the White House.

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LOS ANGELES — Beyoncé did not let Juneteenth pass without dropping one of her signature surprises in the form a new single called “Black Parade.”

The singer’s website says the song released late Friday will benefit Black-owned small businesses. She opens the track by singing, “I’m going back to the South, I’m going back where my roots ain’t watered down.”

Juneteenth commemorates when the last enslaved African Americans learned they were free. Typically a day of both joy and pain, the holiday was marked with new urgency this year, amid weekslong protests over police brutality and racism sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Beyoncé has spoken out against the killing of Floyd and has also called for charges against the Kentucky officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, a Black woman gunned down in March by officers who burst into her own home.

In an Instagram post announcing the release of “Black Parade,” the singer wrote, “I hope we continue to share joy and celebrate each other, even in the midst of struggle.”

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LAS VEGAS — Democratic members of Nevada’s congressional delegation are renewing a proposal to remove a statue of former Nevada Sen. Patrick McCarran from the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall, saying that he left a “legacy of racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia.”

Sens. Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto and Reps. Steven Horsford, Dina Titus and Susie Lee made the request in a letter to Gov. Steve Sisolak and legislative leaders.

The letter says McCarran supported workers’ rights and helped shape the air travel industry, but his statue should be replaced with one of a person who better represents Nevada’s values “as a compassionate, diverse and welcoming state.”

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TULSA, Okla. — Speaking before several hundred people gathered at the site of the white-on-Black rampage 99 years ago, the Rev. Al Sharpton took on President Donald Trump directly.

He referred to Trump’s tweet Friday morning of a warning about any “lowlifes” showing up against his rally Saturday.

“It’s lowlifes that shoot unarmed people, Mr. President,” Sharpton said. “You couldn’t be talking about us, because we fought for the country when it wouldn’t fight for us.”

He challenged Trump’s lasting campaign slogan. “Make America great again — give me the date that America was great for everybody,” Sharpton said.

“Greatness is when Blacks and whites and Latinos and Asians and original Americans take the streets all over this country and march against your tear gas” and threats to call out the military to squelch protests, Sharpton said. “That’s when you make America great.

“Look over here in Greenwood tonight. This is what is great tonight,” Sharpton said.

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More news about the death of George Floyd at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd

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